I grew up playing sports—mostly soccer—from the age of 5.
And one thing that was a big part of playing sports was fueling up before games.
In high school, the soccer team moms rotated who brought in food for the team during lunch on game days.
The majority of those meals involved pasta: baked penne, spaghetti, macaroni, and my favorite, lasagna.
As I got older and developed my own view of what healthy eating was, I figured out how to fuel my body in the best way for me.
I started to cut out most gluten…including my beloved pasta.
I realized that pasta ended up making me feel more sluggish than fueled, and so I just wrote off being able to enjoy foods like lasagna.
My husband, Chris, is a great cook, and making healthy meals is his forté. I really lucked out with that!
When we first starting dating, one of the first meals he made for me was a Paleo lasagna. It was the first time that I had a pasta substitute dish that actually hit all of the marks for me and didn’t make me miss the real thing. It was flavorful and hearty, and I felt fueled and satisfied.
For the challenge this week to re-make a comfort food in a healthier version, I decided to make my husband’s Zucchini Lasagna.
I have to say that I used to be a firm believer in making my own pasta sauce, ALWAYS.
I kept everything needed on hand in case of a red sauce emergency, but now I’m more limited with extra cooking time.
Nowadays, my sauce hack is to add a few special ingredients to my favorite store-bought sauce to jazz it up a little without sacrificing time.
This recipe can be made in a naptime or less, which is a must in this mamma’s house these days!
I’ve also made a vegetarian version of this recipe for my mom by leaving out the ground turkey, and subbing with mushrooms. It still adds that great meaty texture, and that same wonderful flavor.
- 1 pound ground turkey (or 1 package of mushrooms, for vegetarian option)
- ¼ cup chicken stock
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 jar red sauce
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 4 medium to large zucchini
- ½ cup kalamata olives
- 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
- ½ cup shaved parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Season the ground turkey with salt and pepper, then add it along with the chicken stock to a large pan over medium heat (because ground turkey is so lean, I find that adding chicken stock to it while cooking helps to keep it from drying out). Once the turkey is done, remove it from the pan and set aside.
- To the same pan, add the onions, garlic, and olive oil, cooking down until the onions start to look translucent.
- Add the turkey (or mushrooms) back to the pan with the onions, along with your favorite jar of red sauce (I like the Trader Joe’s brand), and the cayenne pepper. Reduce the heat to low and cook the sauce until it is nice and thick (so the lasagna isn’t runny!)—about 5 minutes.
- While your sauce is cooking together, slice the zucchini into ⅙-inch thick rounds. Prepare a baking dish that has sides by spraying it with cooking spray, then layer a third of the zucchini “noodles” on the bottom of the pan. Next layer on a third each of the sauce mixture, Kalamata olives, goat cheese, and parmesan cheese. Repeat for two more layers, for a total of three layers. Hint: I try to place the zucchini in opposite directions on each layer to help it hold together better.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Enjoy!